The Gender Equity Committee (GEC) is both honored and excited to reflect on the impact working women have had on the labor movement and working-class struggle, contributing to the creation of International Women’s Day (IWD).
IWD, for more than a century, has been and continues to be a day of working-class women’s resistance and organizing, bridging the women’s movement and the working-class labor movement.
March 7, 2014: UPS has put 250 drivers in New York on notice of termination for standing up to harassment and unfair discipline. Teamsters everywhere stand with them.
On Feb. 26, UPS fired a package driver and long-time union activist and denied him his “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” rights under the Union contract.
It was the final straw for UPS drivers in Maspeth, Queens who are fed up with 12-hour days, relentless harassment, an epidemic of workplace injuries and a company that walks all over the contract and grievance procedure.
Teamster drivers walked off the job in protest. They returned to work after sending their message. Packages were delivered, the customers were serviced.
Local 804, which represents the drivers, sat down with the company to try to resolve the dispute and address the underlying problems.
Instead of reaching an agreement, the company has retaliated against the 250 drivers and put all of them on notice of termination. The drivers remain on the job, but management claims it has the right to fire them at any time.
Teamsters everywhere stand in solidarity with the drivers in Maspeth.
For more information and to show your support, go to www.Teamsterslocal804.org
Teamsters in Rhode Island stunned the union old guard and took back their statewide local from entrenched incumbents last fall.
Two weeks into their new term, Local 251’s reform leaders had cut officer salaries by $300,000 a year, members were choosing their stewards and bargaining committees, and more than 110 stewards turned out to the local’s first steward seminar.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Local Union Reform
“One-to-one, worker-to-worker – that’s a big part of how we organize in the ILWU.” explained Wesley Furtado, International Vice President (Hawaii). This approach has worked for our Union over the years, including 2013 when over 500 new members were brought into Local 142 between September and November.
On September 1, 2013, the Andaz Maui at Wailea – a Hyatt brand resort – agreed to card check recognition and a first contract that will give Andaz Maui workers a 14.5% increase over 3.5 years. The Andaz is expected to eventually employ some 400 bargaining unit workers.
“The Andaz was the priority for our organizing in Local 142.” Furtado continued. “It was a brand new hotel built on the grounds of the former Renaissance Wailea Resort – an ILWU unit for many years. We wanted to make sure it continued to be an ILWU house so we could protect the standards we have at the two other Hyatt resorts represented by Local 142.”
Organizers and rank and file leaders from many Maui Division units identified Andaz applicants from around the island and signed these workers on union authorization cards. Thousands of family members, co-workers, and friends were contacted. Social media and many new and creative ideas were used to build on the ILWU approach of one-to-one, worker-to-worker.
In Hawaii Division, rank and file members were key in convincing a non-union department of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay to organize. On September 6, 2013, Guest Service Agents voted 6 – 2 to join the ILWU in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On September 10, 2013, the NLRB conducted an election on Oahu for 45 drivers and warehouse workers at Anheuser-Busch Sales of Hawaii. The Anheuser-Busch workers took ownership of this organizing drive; leaders talked to co-workers, signed them up on ILWU cards, set up group meetings – and they won! The vote: 27 – 17.
Another NLRB election, this time for workers at Kaanapali Alii, was held November 20, 2013. Kaanapali Alii is a vacation condominium resort located between two longtime ILWU units, the Westin Maui Resort & Spa and the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.
Organizers built a solid core of support through one-to-one contact with the workers, and this support grew stronger as ILWU members who are family and friends of Kaanapali Alii employees urged them to “go union”. On election day, leaders and members from the Westin and Hyatt turned out to hold signs encouraging a “yes” vote. The 75 Kaanapali Alii workers responded, voting 49 – 22 for the ILWU.
“Westin is a well-established unit in the ILWU and Kaanapali Alii is right next to our hotel. Our members came out when Alii workers voted – we wanted to show them that they weren’t alone. We live in the same communities and shop in the same stores. We want them to enjoy the benefits of an ILWU contract just like we do,” said Mike Bunyard, unit chair at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa.
In spite of these victories, organizing is tough. Most workers seeking to join a union in this country face an uphill battle made even more difficult by weak labor laws. But one-to-one, worker-to-worker contact – especially by members who can talk firsthand about the ILWU – goes a long ways towards countering the fear and intimidation that many workers face when trying to form a union.
With the current Longshore and Clerks’ Contract expiring just four months from now on midnight of June 30, 2014, the Coast Longshore Division Caucus began two weeks of meetings on February 24 that will establish member-based priorities for the new contract negotiations.
A democratic process
A team of 90 elected delegates representing workers from every West Coast port were joined by dozens of pensioners, special dignitaries, fraternal organizations and member-observers who filled the San Francisco meeting hall from morning ‘til night.
Local 13 veteran Joe Cortez was elected Chair of the Caucus by delegates who also tapped Frank Ponce De Leon as Caucus Secretary. ILWU International President Bob McEllrath delivered brief introductory remarks that provided context and background for the discussions that followed.
“You’re here to set the agenda that our Negotiating Committee will follow,” he explained. “This is your Caucus – and you’ll be calling the shots.” McEllrath then laid out his perspective on issues that will shape the upcoming contract talks. He urged delegates to “hold the line,” and encouraged them to propose strategies to address the challenges ahead, including:
• Jurisdiction – efforts by the employers and other unions to poach Longshore jobs.
• Health Care & Pensions – increased employer & government pressure to cut benefits.
• Automation – employer efforts to replace workers with new technology.
Delegates responded warmly to a proposal by Southern California Pensioner’s Group President Greg Mitre who asked that the Caucus be dedicated to the memory of Victor Manuel Crespo Puerto who was murdered late last month by anti-union death squads in Honduras. Victor Crespo and his wife became assassination targets after his son led efforts to help Port workers secure a union contract at a newly privatized port managed by International Container Terminal Service Incorporated (ICTSI), a story that was detailed in last month’s Dispatcher. Other dedications were offered on behalf of fallen members Frank Cappiello, Sr., of Local 52; Ernie Di Villarico of Local 34; Reg Theriault, Eric Wright and Joy Daniels of Local 10; Local 10 pensioners Osborn Hill, Al Broussard, John Romo, Manny Simpson; and Ethyl Chester – widow of former Local 10 member and International Vice President, Bill Chester.
Delegations of dockworkers from around the world attended the Caucus to convey their solidarity and support. Heading the list of dignitaries was Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) which represents over 700 unions in 150 countries with 4.7 million workers.
In addition to serving as Chair of the ITF Dockers Section, Crumlin is General Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). He urged ILWU delegates to remember that their upcoming contract struggle would be watched by dockworkers across the globe who draw inspiration from the ILWU’s strength and courage. “You can count on your friends at ports around the globe to be there if you need our help,” said Crumlin, who noted that powerful carriers and terminal operators are bent on squeezing union members on a global scale. He also cited recent struggles in Australia where dockers have been tangling with powerful employers, “just like the ones you’ll be facing in a few months.” He said MUA members are in the process of tackling new technology, “which we don’t oppose if employers are willing to negotiate the impacts on workers and ensure that they result in dignity and security instead of fear and insecurity.” Crumlin said MUA members at the Port of Brisbane decided to address new technology there by choosing a 32-hour work week with excellent pay that expanded the MUA’s membership and strength.
Another important solidarity delegation attending the Caucus was the International Dockers Council (IDC), led by General Coordinator Antolin Goya, representing 90,000 dockers around the globe. Goya also serves as the head of Coordinadora, the union representing 80% of dockworkers in Spain. Goya pledged that the IDC and Spanish dockers would “stand with you in solidarity” because “a victory by the ILWU will help dockworkers everywhere.”
Recognizing that Hawaiian Longshore workers have their own contract that is negotiated separately from the mainland, President McEllrath made a point of acknowledging the delegation of Hawaiian Longshore Division leaders who attended the Caucus, led by Director Nate Lum, along with Wesley Furtado, International Vice President, Hawaii. The Hawaiian members were introduced and thanked for their pledges of solidarity and support.
Reports for delegates
The Longshore Division’s Coast Committee, consisting of International President Bob McEllrath, Vice President Ray Familathe, and Coast Committeemen Ray Ortiz, Jr., and Leal Sundet, reported on the critical issues expected to emerge in negotiations and gave suggestions and recommendations for delegates to consider as they debate goals and priorities during the two-week Caucus.
Pension & welfare
Additional reports were submitted by the Coast Pension & Welfare Committee that met in late January to prepare materials for Caucus members. Coast Benefits Specialist John Castanho led a series of presentations that provided delegates with detailed information about the union’s health insurance and pension plans. Experts and attorneys were also on hand to provide additional analysis and answer questions.
Thanking Nick Buckles
As the Dispatcher was going to press in late February, delegates were just beginning to debate the many resolutions that will guide the upcoming contract negotiations. The first resolution to be adopted by delegates was passed unanimously by a standing ovation of delegates who honored Local 32 member Nick Buckles, who started working on the docks in 1961 and served for 18 years as the ILWU’s Washington Area Welfare Director. Many heartfelt testimonials, including several filled with tears, accompanied the resolution and honorary plaque that Buckles accepted graciously from the Caucus. Next month’s Dispatcher will report on the conclusions reached by the Caucus and the next steps ahead in the 2014 contract negotiations.
PORTLAND, OR (MARCH 4, 2014) – On March 4, Central American port workers from the labor union Sindicato Gremial de Trabajadores del Muelle (SGTM) from Puerto Cortés in Honduras established a picket line in front of ICTSI’s Oregon’soperation at Terminal 6 in Portland. SGTM workers held picket signs that read, “S.G.T.M. LOCKED OUT ICTSI” and statedthat they are facing murder, military repression, death threats,and anti-union attacks. ILWU workers honored the picket line in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement.
ICTSI, the Philippines-based global terminal operator that began its first venture in the United States in 2010 when it leased Terminal 6 from the Port of Portland, is the parent company for ICTSI Oregon and Operadora Portuaria Centroamericana(OPC). On February 1, 2013, ICTSI was awarded a concession agreement in Puerto Cortés for 29 years. ICTSI then establishedOPC,
which imposed a sham labor agreement that was approved by the Honduran Government and ICTSI but never voted on or approved by a majority of port workers. ICTSI/OPC began hiring workers under the sham labor agreement in December 2013 and, over the course of the next couple months, the company fired large numbers of union supporters. This mass firing of union supporters sparked protest on February 26, 2014. The Honduran military responded to the protest by invading the port and arresting approximately 129 workers, who were charged with “terrorism” and “damaging the national economy”. One union leader has had to flee the country after his family members were attacked, killing one and injuring others.
From the Boston IWW
Four workers at Insomnia Cookies' Cambridge store went on strike on August 19, protesting poverty pay and wretched working conditions, and demanding $15/hr, health benefits and a union at their workplace. The company illegally fired all four. For the next six months strikers, IWW members, allies, and student organizations at both Harvard and Boston University held pickets, marches, rallies, forums, phone blitzes, and organized boycotts, while workers continued organizing at both the Cambridge and Boston locations. The union also pursued legal charges through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
March 4, 2014: A March 3 SEC filing revealed that James Welch, CEO of YRCW, sold 38,000 shares of company stock and made $956,840. The filing also noted that Welch owns 329,157 shares at a current value of over $8 million.
Meanwhile, Harry Wilson, YRCW Board member appointed by James Hoffa for the IBT, has resigned from the Board after he got $5.5 million for his role in the Teamster concession vote and the re-financing deal. Hoffa will now be able to nominate a replacement to the YRCW board.
Wilson made millions more in fees of $250,000 per month and for earlier services.
Prior to the concession vote, Welch and other upper management reps were challenged by Teamsters to prove their equal sacrifice. Their answer was they were working for much less than their market value.Issues: Freight
Increasing the national standard for twin trailers to 33 ft. from the existing 28 ft. would allow carriers to absorb up to 18% of future freight growth without any change in gross vehicle weight or additional miles traveled on roadways, the chief executive officer of FedEx Ground told a Congressional subcommittee Feb. 27. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on highways and transit is holding a series of hearings related to highway funding and safety as it works to reauthorize those programs. The current act, known as MAP-21, expires Sept. 30.
Testifying before a hearing on the nation’s freight network, Henry Maier, CEO of FedEx Ground, told the subcommittee that projected benefits of allowing 33-ft. twins are based on data supplied not only by FedEx, but also ABF System, Con-way, Estes Express, Old Dominion Freight Line, UPS and YRC Worldwide.
“Industry-wide, that equals up to 1.8 billion fewer miles driven, more than 300 million gals. of gasoline saved and $2.6 billion in reduced costs annually,” Maier said. “Importantly, a reduction in truck trips would be environmentally friendly, saving fuel and emissions from trucking. This is an excellent example of an innovation that can have tremendous value – including increasing cost efficiencies – but it is one that cannot be implemented without Congress modernizing our transportation policy.”
Some states allow the larger trailers, and FedEx has been testing them in Florida since 2010, Maier told the subcommittee. Not only have the larger trailers been just as safe, but also some drivers operating them believe safety is enhanced because the longer combination is even more stable than those with 28-ft. twins, he said.
Deterioration of highways and bridges “is fast reaching crisis proportions,” Maier said. “As a business whose customers rely on us for fast and reliable service, we can attest that impassable roads and bridges lead to increased costs, service delays and untold equipment damage.”
Maier noted that MAP-21 calls for the identification of a 27,000 mi. Primary Freight Network comprising highways viewed as essential to the delivery of goods. This measure is inadequate given that the Federal Highway Administration says that more than 41,000 mi. of highways would be needed.
“While FedEx agrees in principle with the Primary Freight Network concept, we have concerns based on its limited scope,” he said.
FedEx agrees with the American Trucking Assns. call for greater emphasis to be placed on critical freight corridors and intermodal highway connectors.
Highways’ importance for manufacturers
The Volvo Group North America told the subcommittee that the health of America’s freight network matters to the company not only because of its importance to Volvo customers and their need for equipment, but also because it directly affects the competitiveness of Volvo’s American manufacturing operations in the global economy.
“Like any other manufacturer, we rely on a vast supply chain and our nation’s interconnected network of roads, airports, inland waterways and ports to support and supply our operations,” said Susan Alt, senior vice president for public affairs for Volvo Group North America and former head of the company’s North American supply chain operations.
“Just in time” and lean manufacturing philosophies in recent years have benefited Volvo, its customers and the overall economy, Alt noted. “However, to be efficient we must have the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount needed in the production cycle.”
While the company can plan for some uncontrollable events that impact delivery times, it can’t plan for unexpected delays due to traffic congestion, Alt told the subcommittee. “This is where we get in real trouble - when a truck is caught in a traffic jam and can’t make his delivery. The ripple effect of one late delivery can be costly. It means we don’t build the product on time – tying up capital; it means the product will be re-worked – tying up man-hours and not following normal quality production; it means sending workers home early; it means not delivering to a customer on time and hurting our competitiveness…all because of that one missed shipment.”
While transportation infrastructure is serving the supply chain adequately today, it’s not well-positioned for the future, Alt said. “Highway infrastructure continues to age without a systematic program to modernize key interstate networks; traffic is returning to peak levels that we have not experienced since before 2008 and we are gradually experiencing economic growth with a strong emphasis on exports.”
MAP-21 represented an important step toward reforming transportation policy, but “a full six-year, well-funded reauthorization is needed to address the persistent challenges that are already well-documented and recognized as problems facing our transportation system,” Alt told the subcommittee.
A critical concern is traffic congestion, Alt said, sharing one example from Volvo’s experience at its southwest Virginia plant located along I-81. Until a third truck lane was added, a stretch of mountains near Blacksburg, Va., was the site of many accidents, resulting in frequent delivery delays and production disruptions for the plant, she said. “Since the opening of the third lane, we have a marked improvement in on-time deliveries from that route. This is a real world savings that directly benefits our customers, as well as the safety of the driving public.”
Other witnesses at the hearing were Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, testifying on behalf of the American Assn. of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and Palos Hill, Ill., Mayor Gerald Bennett, testifying on behalf of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
- Being A Woman Organizer Isn’t Easy
- Mobile Rail Workers Win, Wobblies Organize Worldwide
- International (Working) Women’s Day
- Staughton Lynd: A Tribute To Rosa Luxemburg
- Jane LaTour: Toward Equal Employment For Women
- Addressing Sexual Violence In The IWW
Download a Free PDF of this issue.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union has issued a 9.5 Rights Enforcement Packet to make it easier to enforce your protections against excessive overtime.
Here are the ABCs of enforcing your 9.5 rights. Download the 9.5 Rights Enforcement Packet for the detailed explanation.
The ABCs of Enforcing Your 9.5 Rights
- Step 1. Document Your Excessive Overtime. Use the 9.5 Rights Documentation Form to document any work week in which you work over 9.5 hours on three days.
- Step 2. Tell your Center Manager you want to be on the 9.5 List. Fill out and turn in a 9.5 Opt-In List Request Form. Make sure to bring your steward with you.
- Step 3: Report a 9.5 Violation. Once you are on the 9.5 list, keep track of any work week in which you work more than 9.5 hours three times. Take your steward and report the 9.5 violation to the manager. Depending on the situation, an appropriate next step would be adjusting your load, triple time pay for hours worked over 9.5 hours in a day, or agreement to pay the triple time penalty on the next violation.
- Step 4 (if necessary): If your center manager doesn’t resolve the problem, file a grievance. The grievance should state that management violated Article 37 by working a driver on the 9.5 Opt-In list more than 9.5 hours, three times in one work week. The remedy should state: Pay triple time for all hours worked over 9.5 during the week. Adjust drivers’ load. Cease and desist from working driver over 9.5. Make whole in every way.
Click here to download the complete 9.5 Rights Enforcement Packet which includes a guide to enforcing your rights and forms to use to document your case.
Are you having trouble enforcing your 9.5 rights or getting action on your grievances? Click here to contact TDU today.Issues: UPS
Saturday, March 15
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
CUNY Law School, 2 Court Square, Long Island City, NY
Join Teamsters for a day of union education and strategizing about rebuilding union power.
All members who register in advance are automatically entered in a drawing to win tickets to an upcoming Rangers or Knicks-Nets game. (You must be in attendance to win.)
Workshops include: Dealing with Difficult Supervisors, Investigating Disciplinary Grievances, Shop Steward Training, Running for Local Union Office, What it Takes to Win Your Case in Arbitration or at the Grievance Panel, and more!
Register in advance for just $20. Includes lunch. Onsite registration is $25.
Join TDU! A one-year membership costs $40 and includes free conference registration for first-time members plus five entries into raffle drawing.
Call NY TDU at 718-287-3283 to register today or get more information.
Or complete this form and we’ll contact you.Issues: TDU
Bus drivers in northern Vermont have voted 53-4 to strike against unsafe conditions, surveillance and discipline, and part-time status. The walkout is set for March 10.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Bus Drivers
February 28, 2014: YRCW announced their 2013 annual and fourth quarter numbers and it’s clear that the regional carriers are pulling their weight. Operating profits were up to $22.7 million in 2013 for the regionals – Holland, New Penn, and Reddaway - while YRC Freight posted a 2013 loss of $15.4 million. YRC claimed losses due to weather, workers’ compensation claims, and weaker rates.
In late 2013, Jeff Rogers was removed as president of YRC Freight. He has been replaced by Darren Hawkins – formerly senior VP of sales and marketing at the company. CEO James Welch had held the post briefly prior to the change.
Upper management clearly needs a better plan to right the ship at YRC Freight. Teamster members have made countless sacrifices since 2009. James Welch needs to stop pointing fingers like he did in his February 14 letter to Teamsters. The focus needs to be on issues with YRC Freight management and operations – not the thousands of Teamsters who have done their part.Freight
New records obtained by the Defending Dissent Foundation prove that the United States Army used a multi-agency spy network to gather intelligence on nonviolent, antiwar protesters and to disseminate their findings to both the FBI and local police departments.
Activists filed a lawsuit against Thomas Rudd and John Towery — Panagacos v. Towery — in 2007, alleging that the U.S. Army had directed operatives to infiltrate and collect information about the activist movement in the Washington area.
According to the newly released documents, the U.S. Army paid Towery, a Criminal Information and Systems Officer, to spy on the antiwar group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), as well as the Students for a Democratic Society, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Feb 26, 2014: Local 745 members held a TDU meeting in El Paso, Texas to talk about enforcing their contracts, the future of the union and rebuilding Teamster Power.
Teamsters in El Paso are members of Local 745 in Dallas which is 635 miles away!
That kind of distance takes the “local” right out of local union. So members decided to cook up some Teamster Unity of their own and organized a TDU meeting in El Paso on Feb. 22.
The meeting was organized by Teamsters at UPS and UPS Freight. Different generations of Teamsters came together with the common goal of building a stronger union for the future.
Members shared strategies for dealing with contract violations, including seniority, supervisors working, excessive overtime and production harassment.
How to stop concessions at UPS and UPS Freight was another hot topic.
“When we spoke up at the contract vote here in El Paso, they told us, ‘If you don’t like it, get out of the union,’” one UPS Freight Teamster said. “No way are we getting out of the Union. We’re getting even more involved.”
Rebuilding Teamster Power by informing and involving members. That’s what TDU is all about.
Click here to read more about TDU: Who We Are, What We’ve Won, Where We Stand.